Prairie ex-pats missing the wheat fields of home can see and hear the next best thing at the joint exhibition Tractor Dreams, currently showing at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo.
The show features writing by Enderby artist Howard Brown and photography and graphic art by Vernon’s Harold Rhenisch.
Both are studio artists at Vertigo.
In the exhibition, Brown honours work, tractors, brotherhood, family, farming, and prairie life. His writing is presented in three ways: as concrete poetry, in a limited edition chapbook, and in a public reading.
“Howard Brown is one of the true people’s poets of Canada,” said Rhenisch, who is also a writer. “I’m thrilled to help showcase to Vernon this great poet who lives among us. This work has the down-to-earth warmth of Vernon’s Greg Simison and the wit of such great national poets as Robert Kroetsch and Al Purdy.”
Rhenisch, in turn, is showing his photographs of tractors, which he took while visiting old fields throughout the Okanagan in winter and spring.
A chapbook designed by Rhenisch is also available at the gallery.
Rhenisch will speak on the tradition of workers’ art in the Okanagan and on the art of using a gallery space as a book, Nov. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Vertigo. He will be joined by Brown, who will read his poem, Reading Dennis Cooley’s Correction Line by the Light of a Kerosene Lamp Reminds Me of Tractors I Have Known.
“We will celebrate tractors, dreams, Vernon’s proud traditions of work, and the down-to-earth humanity of prairie culture,” said Rhenisch. “And we’ll have some fun with the gallery space, too.”
Gallery Vertigo is also hosting studio artist Donna Mair on its featured members wall for the month of November.
The installment, titled Armchair Tourist, highlights Mair’s love of photography, which she developed at a young age.
“I remember snapping photos of my yard, my brothers, the neighbours, with an old Brownie camera my mom gave me around the age of nine,” said Mair. “Trying to capture on film what I was seeing in my mind’s eye was a challenge then, and still is, and I love that about photography.”
Mair spent the bulk of her childhood experimenting with other art styles, including painting, sculpture, lithographs and such, but always came back to the instantaneous nature of photography.
“I love that photography is now. It’s right in front of you and you either capture it or you don’t,” she said. “Armchair Tourist captures that instant from the passenger seat of our pickup truck while travelling and was a challenge I loved experimenting with.”
All exhibitions are now open until Nov. 29 at Gallery Vertigo, #1-3001-31st St. (upstairs). Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m. The public can also meet Mair as part of Gallery Vertigo’s gala reception, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.